CHICAGO—ComBlu, a joint venture of Chicago corporate communications firm HLB Communications and The M Group of Indianapolis, has launched The Evangelist Effect, a proprietary nine step process that cultivates customer evangelists and turns them into a reliable source of word-of-mouth communication.
ComBlue was formed to develop thought leadership and tools designed to reach, engage and align both customers and employees. The Evangelist Effect is the company’s first offering and focuses on the increasingly important area of word-of-mouth. In a 2003 NOP World study, 93 percent of those polled said they would take action if engaged by a specific word-of-mouth campaign.
“Today, customers filter out most marketing messages and rely on their social and professional networks for information and recommendations about products, services and resources,” says ComBlu principal, Steve Hershberger. “The most desirable, hardest to reach customers want to discover new products, trends, fashions and lingo for themselves. Word-of-mouth is more personal and the most credible part of their discovery process.”
The Evangelist Effect’s nine step process integrates the roles of both internal employee evangelists and external evangelists around a common brand mission. It uses constant, targeted feedback and data from customer evangelists to refine and reinforce desired customer experience. This feedback drives internal processes, cultures, employee behaviors and skills, and product development strategies.
Says Hershberger, “For those organizations with the right dynamics, customer evangelism quickly becomes an essential part of the marketing mix and a valuable competitive advantage. EE, however, is not for everyone and actually could be counterproductive for those organizations not ready to fully embrace its principles. In fact, the first step in our process determines an organization’s readiness for evangelism.”
The product is designed to work in both consumer and business-to-business environments.